Award-winning writer, talented musician, trained dancer, the French Lola Lafon is in the running for several prestigious literary prizes this fall, with Capsize, his new novel. The story of Cléo, a girl who was 13 in 1984, tells of a dream of making a career in the world of dance … and behind the scenes, much heavier and suffering.
At the end of a dance class, Cléo is approached by an elegant woman who offers to apply for a scholarship. Delivered by a certain Galatée Foundation, this income would allow him to realize his dream and make a career in modern jazz.
But behind the Galatea Foundation are hiding unscrupulous people, who have many other goals for it. A sexual trap closes on Cléo who, without knowing it, draws other young girls into it.
Lola Lafon, in an interview, explains that she first wanted to make a portrait of a woman, and observe her through all her encounters. She also wanted to go back to the 1990s, in a social and political way. She also wanted to look at the notion of “guilty victim”.
“I have a slight concern that now there is some sort of place left for the victims … but not all of them. That is to say, one must still be an exemplary victim. Maybe my spirit of contradiction made me want to make way for someone who can’t even see themselves as a victim. ”
Lola Lafon recalls that her first novel was already about rape. “I didn’t really wait for #MeToo to talk about it. It’s been 17 years since I wrote my first novel, and that was the subject. At the same time, I found it brilliant, this movement, and what worried me, I said to myself, how are going to speak to those who have a complicated history? Of those who had drunk too much? Of those who were naked in someone’s bed and then said no? All the complicated real life stories. I’m really worried about the hierarchies of victims. ”
Lola Lafon specifies that she is also interested in how speech occurs in a life. “I think there was also a desire to work on the time that passes and the time it takes to understand that an event has happened.”
The writer, who is also a singer and who made a career in the dance world in her twenties, was marked by the 1990s. “I was a teenager in the late 1980s, but the 1990s were really important to me because they were my political awakening. This is where I really started to get involved and understand. ”
The world of dance
Lola Lafon knows very well the world of dance, in which Cléo evolves. “It was my first job. So I was in the dance world until I was 20-24 years old. But on the other hand, I did not know at all the world of modern jazz and even less that of reviews. So I was helped by former Redha ballet dancers and young magazine dancers who really helped me. They were great for showing me the details behind the scenes, the dressers. I was really passionate about entertainment. ”
Lola Lafon imagined the Galatée Foundation and there are no news items from which she was inspired and which resemble what she describes. “I just thought, when I wrote it, that the most terrible trap would be a foundation that gave out scholarships to everyone. And who doesn’t want to be elected for their project? ”
♦ Writer, Lola Lafon is the author of The Little Communist who never smiled, awarded numerous prizes, and Mercy, Mary, Patty.
♦ Capsize is in the running for numerous literary prizes – he is notably a finalist in the second round of the Prix Fémina, in the French Novels category.
♦ Lola Lafon is also a musician and has two albums to her credit.
“Glitter arose from what was held to be negligible: they had the beauty of uncertainty. It was sometimes opposed to Cléo that all this was junk, like the rhinestone necklaces resting on her plexus, those ruby beads that surrounded her waist.
It was all wrong, therein lay the disturbing beauty of this world, she retorted. The girls pretended to be naked, they overplayed their joy on stage for ninety minutes, that’s Paris, they came from Ukraine, Spain or Clermont-Ferrand. “